Saturday, June 8, 2013

ipython notebook

I'm, of course, a Python groupie. Many of you perhaps use Matlab or Mathematica as an interactive environment to explore math (or algebra). Python has had the regular python shell and then Ipython, which allows such easy interactive exploration.

However, when using the python shell, I always feel the need to open up a separate editor and write scripts when the concepts get a little complicated, and this takes away a little of the interactiveness.

Ipython notebook changes all that. You should really try it out. The Ipython notebook uses your browser as a GUI (something I heartily support). It breaks everything up into 'cells'. Some cells can be text and some can be code. Each code cell can be executed on its own but as part of a common workspace.

This is ideal for me as I write this blog: I type in some code and execute it to see results (including graphs). Then I type up some text explaining the what I just did. I then move on to another cell for the next part. I can go back to an earlier cell and change code and then rerun everything, or just a part of it. It's like one giant interactive script. I love it.

There still is not a polished way to convert the notebook to say a wordpress post (though there is a pipeline for blogger). This script works for me to convert the figures into .png format. I simply copy and paste by code and text into this blog from the notebook and then attach the figure .png files. Janky and increases the time spent, but whatever.

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